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J Trauma. 1993 Jul;35(1):8-19.

Cytotoxic effects of topical antimicrobial and antiseptic agents on human keratinocytes in vitro.

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Department of Dermatology, University Hospital, Leiden, The Netherlands.


The cytotoxicity of commonly used antimicrobial and antiseptic agents to cultured human keratinocytes was investigated, combining a morphologic assay with a quantitative neutral red (NR) spectrophotometric assay. Main outcome criteria of response were the initial cytotoxicity (NR 90) and midpoint cytotoxicity (NR 50) and the highest tolerated dose (HTD), a concentration causing the first observed morphologic alterations. These values were compared with commonly administered clinical doses or calculated doses. Thirty-five agents were evaluated; five agents were also subjected to an assay for cell morphologic alterations, and HTD and percentage of cells taking up trypan blue and annihilation dose were assessed. These studies show that in clinical concentrations many, but not all, agents exert profound cytotoxic effects. The results suggest that under certain conditions cultured epithelial grafts may be exposed to clinical concentrations of neomycin, clindamycin, framycetin, erythromycin, gentamicin, and 0.1% solutions of povidone-iodine. Tetrachlorodecaoxygen anion complex (TCDO) should be further evaluated as a likely effective cleansing agent before culture grafting.

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